Independents Turn Out Big Time for the GOP

A major story tonight is how independent voters turned out strongly for Republicans this Election Day, a not-so-encouraging sign that Democrats have lost touch with a voting bloc considered pivotal to Barack Obama's win in 2008 and the party's recapture of Congress in 2006. If exit polls are to be believed—and we know sometimes they aren't—Republican Chris Christie trounced Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey 58 percent to 33 percent among independent voters. Ditto in Virginia, where Republican Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial victory tonight appears to have been fueled in part by swing voters. According to exit polls there, McDonnell led Democrat Creigh Deeds among self-described independent voters 65 percent to 34 percent. It is a fluke? Not exactly. For months, national polls have been showing independents moving to the right. A recent Gallup Poll found Republicans leading Dems 46 percent to 36 percent among independents. One reason, according to a recent Pew Research survey, is that independents are increasingly unhappy with the Democratic-led Congress. And their single biggest issue appears to be the one driving election results today and likely in 2010: worries about the economy.